There is a great divide in the Ghanaian movie industry and this became more evident prior to the last Ghana Movie Awards when the local dialect actors ‘Kumawood actors’, threatened to boycott the event. Some Twi actors since and after the awards have complained bitterly about how some of their ‘counterparts’, the English speaking actors treat them especially at public events. Some mentioned that the English speaking actors tend to embarrass them when they even get close to them.
The Ghana Movie Industry is one industry running on different dialects. It doesn’t matter to me if an actor belongs to Kumawood or Gollywood, they’re all part of the creative industry. The fact that somebody speaks English in his/her field and another speaks Twi in his/her field does not make one better than the other.
When I read this report in Graphic Showbiz, it was like reading about two different countries competing against each other. The actors who complained about the excessive snobbish behaviour of some English actors were, Kwaku Manu, Akrobeto and Salinco.
Kwaku Manu mentioned that on several occasions, he had tried chatting with some of the English-speaking glamour-type actors at events and the responses he had received were rather chilly, quoting him: “As though those of us who act in Twi are second-rate.”
Citing an example of one of such embarrassing as the 2011 Ghana Movie Awards, he said, he personally approached three English-speaking actors in a conversation and their reaction suggested that they did not recognise him as a colleague actor. The actor also mentioned that on another occasion, Nana Ama McBrown introduced him to some English-speaking actors at an event and he experienced a similar humiliation. “I get the impression that they see themselves as better than us and therefore look down on us” he said.
Actor Salinco was more candid about his experience. He mentioned that there had been several occasions Majid Michel has shunned him. “I have met Majid several times and anytime I try talking to him, he doesn’t even look at me or consider me as a human being. I believe we are all actors so if the English speaking actors are looking down on us, then we are not united.”
Akrobeto says he avoids them completely because he does not want any embarrassment. “Most of the glamour actors feel they are more educated than us and therefore they do not want to mingle with us but that is cool with me because I don’t go close to them either. Whether you believe it or not, the Twi-speaking actors make more money than they do so if they think they are big I don’t give a hoot about it.”
The only actresses who said she had never had that experience was Emelia brobbey, probably because she acts in English movies so she is classified as educated. When this issue was put in front of English speaking actor-Van Vicker, he said- if any Twi speaking actor has been embarrassed by any of his colleague actors then that was an unfortunate situation but he felt that attitude should not be encouraged. “I have always said that no actor can stay on top for ever; there is time for everybody so why don’t we all come together as one?”
If we are all crying for a better Movie Industry and some players are putting up this attitude, then I’m sorry, we’re staying where we are. If they cannot accommodate their own, they shouldn’t expect someone to accept them when they FINALLY get into their Hollywood.
While the local dialects are doing their thing and the English actors are doing their thing, everything must be stringed together to move us forward, that is how it works; but if one party feels they’re better than the other, the industry will remain stagnant.